Vegan cooking: Tuna salad and quesadillas

This recipe has all the flavor of the lunchtime staple but leaves the cholesterol and mercury behind! Now, that's a comforting thought!


  • 2 cans garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups fresh beans from scratch)
  • 1/2 cup eggless mayonnaise, such as Garlic Aioli, Nayonnaise, or Vegenaise
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


- Add the chickpeas to a food processor or blender and grind them down into small flaky pieces. You can certainly make this salad with whole chickpeas, but I find that it's easier to add it as a sandwich filling. Plus, the flakiness of the ground chickpeas really does resemble tuna in taste and texture.

- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

- Compassionate Cooks Tip: Sprinkle in some kelp or dulse flakes for an "of-the-sea" flavor.

- Yield: 4 to 6 servings

*Wheat-free, soy-free

If the combination of Middle Eastern hummus and Mexican tortillas seems strange, just trust me. The result is absolutely delicious and serves as an incredibly fast meal or snack.


  • Hummus, store-bought or homemade
  • 8 corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions


- Spread a tortilla with 3 heaping tablespoons of hummus and place (hummus-side up!) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

- Add a thin layer of salsa, and sprinkle on some chopped green onions.

- Top with a second tortilla, and cook until the bottom tortilla is warm and turning golden brown, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how high you have your flame. Turn and cook the second side for another few minutes, until it, too, is golden brown. This process become a lot quicker once the pan is hot, so stay close to the flame!

- Alternatively, you can spread your hummus on just one half of the tortilla, place it in the pan, add the other toppings in a thin layer over the hummus, and fold the empty half of the tortilla on top of the filled side. Let it get golden brown on the bottom side, then carefully turn the quesadilla over to get golden brown on the other side.

- Remove from pan, and serve hot. If using the two tortillas, either cut it in half or into pizza-shape triangles to serve as finger food. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

- Makes 4-8 quesadillas, depending on whether you fold a single tortilla or add one on top of the other

Serving Suggestions and Variations

- Add some pinto or black beans when you add the salsa.

- Greek-style: Instead of salsa and green onions, add spinach, thinly sliced red onions, Kalamata olives, and non-dairy yogurt.

- Italian-style: Instead of salsa and green onions, add roasted red peppers, parsley, and oregano.

- Use your imagination:After your hummus layer, you can add anything you want. Just be careful not to overload it so as to make it too difficult to flip it over.

*Oil-free; can be wheat-free, soy-free

About Colleen Patrick-Gordeau
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an American writer, activist, public speaker, and cooking instructor. Having earned a master's degree in English Literature from Seton Hall University, Colleen uses her writing and communication skills to raise awareness of the animal issues about which so many people are unaware.

Colleen is the author of two very popular cookbooks, The Joy of Vegan Baking, which won VegNews Magazine's "Cookbook of the Year" Award, and The Vegan Table". Colleen is currently working on a third, called Color Me Vegan.

Colleen's also produces a podcast called Vegetarian Food for Thought and produced a cooking DVD, Cooking with Compassionate Cooks which grew out of her Oakland, CA based cooking classes.

Colleen has been a long-time columnist for VegNews Magazine with her popular column VegGuru. She has appeared on The Food Network and is a contributor to KQED Radio's editorial program, Perspectives. She also publishes two newsletters, Food For Thought and Soup to Nuts.

For more information, visit

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